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RE: [External] : Re: Shrinking the C core

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: [External] : Re: Shrinking the C core
Date: Fri, 8 Sep 2023 15:38:58 +0000

FWIW, +1 for your mail, Arthur -
pretty much each of the points you made.

As one who's used CL (long ago) but is
no expert about it or Elisp or Lisp
generally, I happen to agree about the
usefulness of keyword args _for users_.

I can't really speak to implementation,
compilation, maintenance, etc., all of
which are of course also important.

AFAIK there has never been a real, open,
serious discussion about keyword args
for Elisp.  And (I think) I've always
respected the decision to not bring up
the question.  But I do appreciate it
being at least _presented_, if not put
on the table for outright discussion.

In general, I like that Richard speaks
up and decides, and I generally agree
with his judgments as helmsman.  But on
this one my own experience tells me
something different.

Not that I have any interesting opposing
arguments.  Nor do I want to argue about
this.  But my experience with CL has led
me to appreciate the ease and handiness
of using keyword args.

Argument order, and the need to provide
all args up through the last optional
one you really want to provide, are an
unnecessary burden on human readers of
code.  Writers too, of course, but it's
more important that code be clear for
readers (including writers as readers).

Unnecessary burden.  So Occam asks "Why
then?".  In his role as _implementer_ of
a language Occam might ask "Why bother
with keywords args?"  But in his role as
user I think his question would be "Why
always need to know & respect arg order?"

I also haven't noticed that having named
arguments is detrimental to code that
analyses or generates code.  I have some,
but less, experience with that - maybe
it's something to consider; dunno.

That's likely all I'll say about this.
Just one opinion.  Keyword args can be
incredibly useful _for users_.

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